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• College • Test Prep • SparkLife Share • • • • Home > SparkNotes > Poetry Study Guides > Eliot’s Poetry > Analysis • Context .

S. Motifs & Symbols • Summary and Analysis ○ “The Love Song of J. Eliot Get this SparkNote to go! .• Analysis • Themes. Alfred Prufrock” ○ The Waste Land Section I: “The Burial of the Dead” ○ The Waste Land Section II: “A Game of Chess” ○ The Waste Land Section III: “The Fire Sermon” ○ The Waste Land Section IV: “Death by Water” ○ The Waste Land Section V: “What the Thunder Said” ○ Four Quartets: “Burnt Norton” ○ Four Quartets: “East Coker” ○ Four Quartets: “The Dry Salvages” ○ Four Quartets: “Little Gidding” • Study Questions • Further Reading • How to Cite This SparkNote Eliot’s Poetry T.

< Previous Section Context Next Section > Themes. His early works. and utterly incapable of expressing himself to the outside world. It is easy to understand why a young aspiring poet would want to imitate these glamorous bohemian figures.” In addition to showcasing a variety of poetic innovations. mortality. and particularly after he converted to Christianity. However. and other subtle effects. and Laforgue—whom he first encountered in college. the quartets offer ways around human limits through art and spirituality. Eliot truly did “modernize himself. but their ultimate effect on his poetry is perhaps less profound than he claimed. as well as the most intellectually satisfying. in a book by Arthur Symons called The Symbolist Movement in Literature. makes Eliot’s some of the most personal.< Previous Section Context Next Section > Themes. draw on a wide range of cultural reference to depict a modern world that is in ruins yet somehow beautiful and deeply meaningful. they simultaneously become more hopeful in tone: Thus. Mallarmé. and he frequently comments on his poetic endeavors in the poems themselves. overly intellectual. Rather than lamenting the ruin of modern culture and seeking redemption in the cultural past. experience. poetry in the English language. and the formal experiments of his early years are put aside in favor of a new language consciousness. As Ezra Pound once famously said. Eliot is always conscious of his own efforts. neurasthenic. Faulkner. Eliot also developed a great deal that was new and original. his poetry changed. a work such as Four Quartetsexplores more philosophical territory and offers propositions instead of nihilism. the aesthetic. like “The Love Song of J. and others of Eliot’s contemporaries. Motifs & Symbols Analysis Eliot attributed a great deal of his early style to the French Symbolists—Rimbaud. his poems also bear many unifying aspects: all of Eliot’s poetry is marked by a conscious desire to bring together the intellectual. While he took from them their ability to infuse poetry with high intellectualism while maintaining a sensuousness of language. Eliot’s early poetry also develops a series of characters who fit the type of the modern man as described by Fitzgerald. Baudelaire. Motifs & Symbols . This humility. dramatic. which emphasizes the sounds and other physical properties of words to create musical. As Eliot grew older. as The Waste Landdoes. and art. which often comes across as melancholy. Eliot uses techniques like pastiche and juxtaposition to make his points without having to argue them explicitly. The later poems emphasize depth of analysis over breadth of allusion. The experiences of living in England during World War II inform the Quartets. which address issues of time. The pastiche of the earlier works is replaced by philosophy and logic. and the emotional in a way that both honors the past and acknowledges the present. while Eliot’s poetry underwent significance transformations over the course of his career. The title character of “Prufrock” is a perfect example: solitary. Alfred Prufrock” and The Waste Land.

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